Thursday, December 30, 2004

in his own words

I'm sure by now everyone has heard of the awful disaster of the Indian Ocean Earthquake and the tsunamis that followed. I have been wanting to comment on this tragedy but honestly just haven't known how. Just like after September 11th happened, it seemed pointless and crass to go back to "life as usual" after something so catastrophic. I by no means wanted to belittle the situation or simply comment on the event out of posterity, but I also could not ignore it. So while I still can't make heads or tails of the tsunamis, I know this. It reminded me just how powerful God is. As hard as it is to imagine, I believe God allowed this disaster to happen, the same way he allows everything to happen on this earth. Why, I have no idea. But that's why He's God, and I'm not. But instead of me rambling on, I stumbled across this blog. It's written by an American who was actually in Thailand when it happened, and I'm sure his take on the whole thing would be much more powerful to read than my ignorant ramblings. Also, Ryan has a link on his blog if you want to give directly to the relief funds that are set up to help the people of Asia. Our prayers are definitely with Rick and the many others who are affected directly by this terrible disaster, but remember dear friends, that actions speak louder than words. This earthquake and effects that followed have killed 3 and 4 times the number that were killed on 9/11. Please don't stand idley by and do nothing.

Wednesday, December 29, 2004

the Christmas aftermath

Three words can describe my blog updates for the month of December: sporadic at best. All this traveling can really take a toll on ones available time and resources for blogging! I am back at work today and tomorrow and then off to the Bluegrass State to ring in the new year, so enjoy me while you can!

The Fam had a nice Christmas, complete with a Napoleon Dynamite ("Gimme your Tots")viewing, several hours of the TBS 24 hours of A Christmas Story, and the shortest Christmas Eve service Ever. My thought is, some people go to church twice a year- the good ole’ C&E bunch- so you’d think we’d try to keep them there as long as we can for those 2 days a year. And in all the snow (ha!) and ice, not to mention freezing cold weather, you and your family get all bundled up, and by the time the 30 minute service was over and you were nice and toasty, it was time to brave the cold weather once again. I just have a problem with a Christmas Eve service that neglects to tell the Christmas story! Anyways, that’s neither here nor there. Christmas Day at the Bradley Bungalow began that morning with the video camera malfunctioning and my dad fighting with that, the dogs fighting over each other’s toys, and my mother aka Flash fighting with us over the temperature in the den; she was burning up (surprise) and the rest of us were freezing. I wound up with many new pink articles of clothing (another surprise) and several new purses for the roommates to borrow. My favorite is one flashy gold one I picked out yesterday after returning some things that I named Vivica. A flashy bag such as this needed a flashy name to go with it. Vivica will be accompanying me to Lexington to celebrate the turning of 2005.

One-time spice girl Jenni and boyfriend Andy came over Christmas night to visit for a few minutes while the Titans were losing on TV. (Rhonda, they were some of the unfortunate souls whose luggage got lost on Christmas. I have yet to find out how that saga turned out since we headed out of town the very next day.) It was good to see you GB- glad you finally saw A Christmas Story! (“RALPHIE I Can’t get Up!!!”)

So the next morning our caravan of 2 cars, 5 people, and 2 dogs headed up I-65 to brave the 20 inches of snow that awaited us in southern Indiana. Car trips with the dogs are always a treat. Oscar only got loose from his collar and leash once during our roadside stop, causing me to very nearly bust my arse on the ice and snow. The rest of the trip up he whined and drooled everywhere. Seriously, it was gross. And do you want to know what else was gross? My great aunt Gertrude telling my mom and I about how she is allergic to Sulfa and broke out in boils on her lips and on places that I never wanted to hear about from my great aunt Gertrude. You try nodding sympathetically and keeping a straight face during that! Also hilarious during our visit with her was Mom and Gertrude trading QVC item stories of the things they had bought on the home shopping network. Neither ordered something that the other didn’t already have or know exactly what the other was talking about. My aunt has bought clothes that she admittedly doesn’t need, candles galore, singing magnets, and stayed up till 2 o’clock in the morning a few nights ago trying to get through on the busy phone line to order a set of 100 gift bags. (Mom of course already had the gift bags.) We all agreed that if my grandmother were still around that she would have loved shopping from QVC. The visit with Gertrude made me miss my grandmother more, but it was still good to see her as she reminds me so much of Grandma Huber.

Seeing all the snow up there was incredible- I’ll get some pictures on here eventually, though I can imagine that dealing with that much snow every day versus the novelty of coming to visit are two different things. I was disappointed that the snow was powdery, so we couldn’t make snowmen or do much in it except push each other down in it and watch Oscar and Stockwell leap through it in the backyard. And of course what Cannelton visit would be complete without a trip to the Pumper? We all went out to eat for Ryan’s birthday and then everyone minus mom and Papa went to the local hot spot for a fairly tame evening of Cannelton entertainment.

It was kind of an unusual Christmas up there since my uncle Michael, Aunt Missy, and cousins couldn’t make it up from Evansville because of the snow, and then my aunt Kristina, uncle Todd, and cousins were also unable to get out from where they lived because of the snow. So it was like half of the family was there for our Christmas celebration. Those of us who were there watched some old video footage from these old silent movies that my uncle Jerry brought over after we had dinner together at the house. There was a clip of my uncle Michael running through a sprinkler that he will never live down, and you’ll never guess who was hamming it up, dancing and making faces every time the camera was on her! (Good thing I turned out to be so darn photogenic, ha ha!)

Wow, this is long… that’s what we get when Amanda is kept from blogging for several days at a time… it all just comes pouring out at once! To wrap things up, hope you all had a wonderful Christmas. Does anyone have any favorite scenes from A Christmas Story that they’d like to mention? Every scene brings a smile to my face- there are just too many to pick one. Happy Hump Day. Catch you on the flip side.

Monday, December 27, 2004

Happy Monday after Christmas!

Welcome back to work everybody! Well, some of us are taking an extended vacation, but where's the fun in that? I hope that everyone's Christmas was good and you got all the gifts you deserved :) I also hope that everyone's travels went well and there were no slides off of icy roads or airport delays. I didn't read the article about it, but heard my co-workers talking about how tens of thousands were stranded at airports yesterday because of some major computer malfunction - and even more baggage was displaced or lost. I was truly lucky that nothing went wrong with my flight or baggage (THIS time!)

We ended up being iced in for about 3 days at my parents', and they only drove me 27% crazy. If my little neice hadn't been there it would have been 64%. I finally had a chance to go to Starbuck's yesterday morning on the way to the airport, and enjoyed a caramel apple cider YEAH!!!! Next, I'm trying the peppermint hot cocoa because it just sounds yummy :) Miss Amanda Jane is in Indiana today and Emmy Sue is off work today so she's shopping with her mamacita.

Christmas pictures will be coming soon, but now I have to get back to work. Oh so much I could blog about though.....I wish I had an extra hour today to do it. OH!!!! One thing though.....the first of my girl friends has had a baby!!!! Halle Layman Phares, born to Mandi and Johnsa Phares on December 23. Mandi was in labor for almost 25 hours. I'd be like, "Get a knife and take that baby out!" So strange to have a friend with a baby, wow. Congrats ya'll :)

Thursday, December 23, 2004

It's the Eve of the Eve!!

For as long as I remember, my dad and grandfather have had a little game they play on the eve of the eve. Back in the day, they used to joke about the fact that it was the "eve of the eve." But then it turned into a contest to see who could call the other person first to say, "it's the eve of the eve!" Now of course my dad, being the good son-in-law that he is, would always let my grandfather win, especially in the later years. But since this is our first Christmas without Pappaw, I feel that it is my duty to announce... "IT'S THE EVE OF THE EVE!!"

the early bird catches... the calendar

YES!!! I finally did it. I was able to beat Laura, George, and Mom to putting up today’s piece on the Christmas calendar. I know in previous weeks I have shared some of our family’s Christmas traditions, but I have yet to mention our Christmas Countdown calendar. It is a ratty, twenty-something-year-old felt calendar that has a green felt Christmas tree on top and a calendar running from Dec 1 through the 25th on the bottom. Each day leading up to Christmas you take the plastic Christmas character off the corresponding day and Velcro him securely to the Christmas tree, so day by the day, the calendar empties and the tree is “decorated” with these plastic figurines velcroed to it. This calendar is one of our most treasured Christmas traditions, and also the source of much anxiety and strife between Laura and I as kids (And still to this day). In past years we would alternate days, her doing the even days and me doing the odds, and of course even that was a struggle because we would argue over who got to do the odd days (which includes Christmas) last year.

In recent years it has been whoever remembered to do the calendar for that day got to do it, but this year, my first year to not be home for a great length of time for Christmas, I have been jipped on the Christmas Countdown calendar! I stop by the house several times a week, but every time I get there someone’s already put the calendar piece up for that day. I found out yesterday that I am not only competing with Laura to put the day up, but now George and even Mom! Well not this morning folks. Due to inclimate weather, I stayed at home last night and thus was able to get to the calendar before anyone else did this morning. Yes, I know, it’s petty to fight over a piece of plastic with Velcro on the back, but it’s a long standing tradition that I have been cut out of simply because I can’t make it over to Chateau Bradley until after 5 o’clock. Barring any unforeseen circumstances, I should be able to get to the calendar for the next two days before anyone else since I’ll be staying at home, and thus will have made up for the entire month of calendar pieces that I’ve been shorted. I feel that getting to do Christmas Eve and Christmas day is only fair. Today’s piece was Mrs. Claus. Tomorrow is Santa, and Saturday’s is a church for Christmas.

We are rejoicing in the fact that we even have the church piece for Christmas day because last year the church fell off the calendar and an unidentified animal (read: Stockwell) chewed up the plastic piece. This was a devastating blow for our family, but Mom being the resourceful woman that she is managed to salvage the church-shaped sticker, and Dad got creative and made a new plastic backing with Velcro for it so that we have a brand-spanking new piece for this year’s calendar. It’s the little traditions like these that make Christmas such a fun time of the year for our family.

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

SNOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

It has been snowing for the past 4 hours here!!! We've got like 3 inches and Kyla and I went out and played in it and made a snowman. I'm not too practiced at making snowmen so he was kind of struggling but I did get a photo of him. I heard there was snow in Nashville on Sunday. There are 2 very steep hills to our condo so we are snowed/iced in. That wouldn't suck except for the fact that today was the only day I'm able to do my last-minute, yet necessary, Christmas shopping. PLUS, I have been trying to get to Starbuck's since Sunday to get a caramel apple cider. Last night I had a plan to go get one this morning before shopping. I actually had a dream last night about going to get one and I'm not kidding! So I was really disappointed that I'm unable to drive anywhere today :( Oh the travesties of life!!!!!!!!!!!

Other popular Shag Quotes...

I feel like we need to enlighten all those out there who have not seen this wonderful movie. So here are a few of our favorite quotes (please read all quotes with a deep South Carolina accent):

"Nobody WANTS to get married. I don't especially feel like gettin' married myself...but that's no reason to go callin' off a weddin'!"

"If I'm not engaged by the time I'm 20, I'm goin' to kill myself."

"So, do you wanna go up to Weewaw Point?"..."Weewaw Point?! you're outta your mind if you think I'd go parkin' with you. I don't even KNOW you."..."well I don't know you either...but I don't consider that an impediment."

"You are unlike ANYONE I have EVER met!"..."Well, you're like EVERY girl I've ever met...you're stuck up, tight-assed, and conventional!"

"I'm the emancipated type...real emancipated."

"I think JFK's a sweet potato!"..."Ewww, he's an old man, Malaina!"..."So...I'd have an affair with him outside o' marriage."..."MALAINA, he is the president. That's sacrilegious!"

"Carson, don't you know we'll remember this night for the rest of our lives?!"

"Look, why can't we just tell 'em the truth? Why can't we just say that this was our last weekend together, and we didn't feel like goin' to Ft. Sumter and touring ____ ____ colonial homes! We wanted to go to the beach, and meet boys, and go to wild parties, and dance!"

"Buzz, I just can't bring myself to hurt a decent, God-fearin' boy like Harley Ralston."

"Chip, grab the bar. We're gon make like a tree and leave."

"Ya'll is the horniest bunch o' white folks I ever saw!" (Fuzzy the maid)

"I can't feel my teeth!"

Am I missing any important ones, girls?


to hug or not to hug?

So Emmy Sue and I went over to her friend Karla’s last night for a Christmas party. It turned out to be pretty much an FRA reunion, and one of those parties where you see tons of people from high school that you really aren’t friends with and have the same 5 second conversation with every person. Did you graduate, what’s your major, where are you living, where are you working, blah blah blah. You revert back to the superficial high school days when you talked to people because you had to and not because you wanted to merely out of politeness. Em and I did have one stimulating conversation with her friend Chris however. It had to do with the nature of hugging, and the difference in hugging styles between guys and girls.

Of course guys do that thing where they shake hands, and then pull their other arm around the guy and do the pat-each-other-on-the-back-slash-hug thing. You can tell how close the guys are by how many pats on the back they give one another and by how long the entire hug transaction takes. The longer the hug, the more pats on the back, the closer the friends.

Girls will do the frontal two-armed hug for other close girlfriends, and the side one-armed hug for acquaintances. Again, ever on guard to be polite, the one armed hug between women signifies that we know each other and recognize the need to acknowledge one another, but shaking hands just isn’t the ladylike thing to do, so you one-arm hug them.

The real curveball though is when guys and girls hug, hence the conversation between Chris, Emily, and me. The whole thing transpired while standing in the kitchen (where else do you stand at a party?) and watching the other people in the room greet each other and hug. "What is that thing that girls do, where they hug you with one arm from the side?" Chris exclaimed. "It’s like they don’t want to get too close to you, so they give you that halfway hug and keep the rest of their body as far away from you as possible." So the three of us discussed this and Em and I came to the conclusion that the logic behind the one-armed side hug is that we girls are trying to let the guys take the lead and let us know just how much of a hug he is looking for. We are waiting for the guy to initiate the depth of the hug by first putting our one arm around our male friend’s waist. The guy then determines whether or not to swivel around and give us the frontal two-armed hug or whether the buck stops here and one arm is all we’re getting. If the guy does turn towards us and wraps the other arm around our shoulders, then we will gladly reciprocate, but the initial one-armed hug is a way for us to allow the guy some control and authority in a non-obvious way. We of course don’t want to be overzealous huggers and come on too strong!

Then again, as a guy, if a girl gives you the kind of one-armed hug where she is in fact trying to keep herself as far away from you as possible, limply puts her arm around your waist, and then removes it as fast as possible, now that’s just plain body language that she probably isn’t going to be sticking around for much longer! Do not, I repeat, do not reach around for the two armed hug because you’re only prolonging the awkwardness!

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Hello from Arkansassy!!!

Whichever of my lovely roommates came up with the "Arkansassy" thing is a genious! ;)

Yes, it's Rhonda live from Hot Springs, Arkansas. This may be the first time the Diva Domain has experienced an out-of-town post. I'm so the trendsetter. This will have to be short because I really cannot type well from this laptop. Just 2 more days till I see the WHOLE family and have Christmas at my Mema's house. It always makes me feel downhome when I go there.....she lives down a dirt road wayyyyy back in the country in this old house that my dad (and his siblings) were born in. She's got a garden, a couple old sheds, a couple ponds, a well, and a clothesline that she still hangs things on. She used to have a barn and horses, but the barn burned down a few years ago. (It was seriously like losing a family member!) So yes we'll have about 35 people in that little house grazing around the dinner table and then we all pile in the front room and unwrap presents - youngest to oldest. :)

OK sorry that was a plangent.....I hope all is well back in Nashvegas. I miss the Penthouse already! I am returning on the 26th! I wish I had the energy to type more but I'm very sleepy.

BTW check out http://www.hupshoopty.com! If you search enough in the 12/17 Nashville pics you will find Rhonda Lu.....I'll explain later!! Haha, that reminds me....I saw a really funny shirt yesterday - it was red and all it said was "Santa, wait....let me explain....." HEHEHE!

Feeling SAUCY??

Congratulations to Amanda, who was spontaneous last night! No, not planned spontaneity...just pure spontaneity people. We decided to accompany the "Wild at Heart" bible study group to SATCO (San Antonio Taco Co for all you non-Nashvillians) and to the Vandy basketball game. Does anyone else get a kick out of the fact that the Wild at Heart group went to a basketball game together?!

Amanda and I met at the Walgreen's in Brentwood at 5:30 pm...BIG mistake in case anyone cares. It took Amanda over 10 minutes to exit I65 and get to my car at Walgreen's. Note to self, "Self, do not meet at Walgreen's at 5:30 pm ever again." After we ate some yummy food at SATCO we headed over to our VIP parking spot and then to our VIP seats...we don't play around people. We were on the 4th row at center court, right behind Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum. What is it with people who complain about EVERY call? Is that really fun...especially when you're up by 20+ points? I'm thinking these guys can't boss their wives around at home so they get it all out at the games. Or they were never that good at sports themselves and live vicariously through the VU team. Just a couple theories I thought I'd throw out there.

The game was fairly blah until #20, Sophomore Dan Cage, came in. As he came to the sidelines to get in the game, Amanda mumbled , "ooohhhh." Little did she know, she was talking slightly louder than she thought, and our neighboring fellows overheard her comment. She quickly retorted with, "What? I was just noticing that he looks like he'd be a good athlete and we could use him in the game right now." And it turns out he did an excellent job and broke his season and career scoring record with 18 points. Back off, Chippewas. "I'm an Indian Outlaw, half Cherokeean Choctaw, my baby she's a CHIPPEWA...she's a one of a kind!"

At some point during the second half, I started to get really tired, and then I got delirious. Amanda and I started singing Eminem's new song - and quite well I might add! "Dre...beer goggles, blind....I'm just trying to unwind!" This is when I began to feel "SAUCY"...don't ask me what this term really means, because I don't know. It's just fun to say...c'mon try it, "I'm SAUCY!" There, now don't you feel better?!


Monday, December 20, 2004

My Best Friend's Wedding

Man, I am exhausted. Do you ever feel like you need a vacation from your vacation? Well that's how I feel today. I got back yesterday from a whirlwind 5-day wedding extravuganza. It began and ended in drama, but the middle was fantabulous. On Tuesday night as I was packing, I called Elisa (the bride) to check on her. I told her I was packing and made the comment, "I can't forget anything but the dress...I must remember the dress! Anything else can be bought in Waco." Well, after Wednesday morning's incident, I have come to find out that you can forget anything but the dress AND your wallet...they simply won't let you on the plane without your license. SO, then began the mad dash back towards the apartment to meet Rhonda with my wallet. (Rhonda, you're my hero!) You see, I had taken a different purse to a Christmas party the night before and forgot to switch my wallet back. But luckily I made it back to the airport just in time to cut everyone in the security line, run to the gate, and walk on the plane with 5 minutes to spare. Whew!

The next morning, Elisa calls Mike, her hubby-to-be, and naturally asked if he's on the way back from his Bachelor party in San Antonio. His reply..."well, um...I'm actually in the emergency room with Ryan, a groomsman. Evidently Ryan woke up with terrible stomach pains and had to be taken to the hospital. It turned out to be gastritis and after a good ol' laxative, all was well. He he!

For the next couple days, all went smoothly. Elisa and I ran errands, packed for her honeymoon, decorated the church, etc. It was such a special time to get to spend with her. Saturday came, and the wedding went off without a hitch...and she looked absolutely beautiful. I just kept thinking, "Are we old enough for this yet?" Sometimes I don't feel old enough to drive a car, much less get married and live with a boy!

When I got back to her apartment, what do I find? One of her suitcases (the one with all the lingerie!!) sitting on her bedroom floor. So she and Mike turned around and came back to get it. That was a close one. It was really nice to get to say bye one more time, though. I thought all the luggage stuff was worked out, but the next morning I went to leave and realized I had left one of my suitcases in Natalie's trunk (Natalie is the one who had to leave early to drive back to Arlington). So my clothes are now being shipped to me. But don't worry, I had my license, which was all that mattered!

Now it's back to the grind...but there's one thing keeping me going...the fact that my next 3 weeks of work are 4-day weeks. Merry Christmas everyone!

DIVA Knoxvegas

Hey, Hey, hey- we're live and comin back 'atcha from good ole Nashville, TN (well, technically Franklin since I'm at work). I am back from what I fondly call, Wedding World, otherwise known as 5 days in Knoxville consumed with Heather and Jacob's wedding. The happy Bride and Groom are currently in Lake Tahoe enjoying their honeymoon. It was a beautiful wedding, and I had a great time getting to hang out with Heather nonstop for a few days. Of course, there is never an event without some kind of funny stories to accompany it whenever I am involved.

First you have "Big Eric" Rodgers (one of the Urshers), who became the King of Bunting and Tulle at our big decorating party Friday morning for the reception. I guess because he is tall he got to help Leah (one of the "helper girls") hang swooping tulle over the windows, but I secretly think he enjoyed working with the netted fabric. When it was all said and done, Leah gave him an extra piece of tulle and he proceeded to tie it around his head, announcing to everyone that he was Tu-Pac. (Side note: Heather knows the exact date our Machiavellian rapper was shot. You can take the girl out of the ghetto but you can't take the ghetto out of the girl.) So being the punny person that I am, I said to Eric, no, you're Tulle-Pac! He enjoyed his new title thoroughly. :o)

The bit of drama that followed me to K-town was involving the music in the ceremony. We get to the rehearsal Friday night and this is going to be the first time any of the 3 Bridesmaids/singers get to practice with the pianist. So the pianist finally gets there and I walk up to introduce myself, and she says to me, do you have the sheet music for your song? No, I say, trailing off, as the reality hits me that she doesn't have it either and the wedding is tomorrow. Long story short is that there are irresponsible people in the world, there was a mix-up about who was supposed to get music to whom, and that I didn't get to rehearse my song with Janna until less than an hour before the ceremony on Saturday! As a self-proclaimed control-freak, and a perfectionist to boot, I was a teensy bit stressed about singing. Add onto that that music is something that is very important to me, and you can imagine how much I was freaking out over the whole ordeal. As it turns out, Janna had music for one of the three songs she was supposed to play for us the day before the wedding, but you know what? Everything turned out ok. Kentucky even beat Louisville without me watching the game on Saturday. I did my best to forget about it until my reporter came to the room where we were getting ready to give me the winning game details and made me a very happy girl. :o)

I know there are many more humorous stories that I could regale you with, but I am still lacking in the sleep department and have a ton of work to catch up on this week before more days off for the holiday (yea!). Besides, yall are just glad to have me back, right? I could write about what I had for dinner last night (meatballs, potatoes, salad, and vegetable pizza at our small group Christmas dinner) and you would still read it and comment on it. Or maybe not.

Thursday, December 16, 2004

Horror of all horrors!!!

Oh.....my.....gosh. Ohmigosh! They took away my Yahoo LaunchCast radio! Someone give me a knife because I am going to kill somebody. (OK Sorry that was way drama.) But yeah, apparantly I have exceeded my monthly 800 song limit, which I didn't even know existed. You guys don't know how much joy my customized radio station brought to me every day at work!!! I was like, "Gosh I wish I could connect this to my car radio, etc." I have spent a lot of time customizing it with just what I want (seriously, you guys gotta try this thing!) Hence the shock and disappointment.

So I can either: 1) Sign up for the $2.50/month LaunchCast PLUS and get commercial-free, higher quality, unlimited song skipping, etc. or 2) Listen to the pre-programmed stations without customization and with commercials and low quality sound. If I sign up for PLUS, I get a 7-day free trial during which if I cancel I don't get charged. I have 7 days of work left before I return in January. SO I have a plan!!!! I'm going to use the 7-day trial for free and then cancel. The next time I am in the office will be January, at which time I'll have 800 more songs! Give it up Emily - I'm the resident genious!!!

On a totally unrelated note, it's holiday time at the Diva Domain, so us operators will be in and out of contact with you, our favorite people. Currently, our Queen Diva Amanda and Diva-In-Training Emily are out of town, leaving yours truly to (wo)man the blog. Amanda's best friend Heather is getting married in Knoxville, and Emily's best friend Elisa is getting married somewhere in Texas ("My Best Friend's Wedding"!) They both have fabulously fun dresses they get to wear too! And they both look great in them, watch out single groomsmen ;)

Yuck, the rice I had at lunch has given me a headache and a bad taste in my mouth. TMI? I don't care.....it's back to work I go though. Happy Thursday everyone and happy birthday to Laura!

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Soundtrack to Your Life

Well, my computer's having issues and I haven't been able to read comments for post comments for a couple days, so let me say that I have been loving your blogs Amanda. Emily.....we're calling out to you.

Now for the fun stuff. This is actually one of those e-mails that you fill out and forward to your friends, then ask them to return it with their answers. So ya'll either post a reply with your answers or e-mail them to everyone you know and join in on the fun!!!

SOUNDTRACK TO YOUR LIFE:
Opening credits: Live Like You Were Dying - Tim McGraw
Waking up: Feels Like Today - Rascal Flatts
First date: My Stupid Mouth - John Mayer
First kiss: On A Night Like This - Dave Barnes
Falling in love: The One - Gary Allan
Seeing an old love: Comfortable - John Mayer, then Stay Gone - Jimmy Wayne
Heartbreak: My Immortal - Evanescence
Driving fast: Carry On - Pat Green
Getting ready to go out: Yeah! - Usher
Partying with friends: Dixieland Delight - Alabama
Flirting: I Take That As A Yes - Phil Vassar
Walking alone in the rain: All By Myself - Celine Dion
Going Home: Home - Tim McGraw
Missing someone: I Will Remember You - Sarah McLachlan
Playing in the ocean: Wide Open Spaces - Dixie Chicks
Summer vacation: When the Sun Goes Down - Kenny Chesney/Uncle Kracker
Fighting with someone: Did I Shave My Legs For This? - Deana Carter
Acting goofy with friends: Girls Just Wanna Have Fun
Traveling: Champagne High - Sister Hazel
Thinking back: Life's A Dance - John Michael Montgomery
Feeling depressed: Bring On the Rain - Jo Dee Messina
Christmas time: O Holy Night
Falling asleep: Please Remember Me - Tim Mcgraw
Closing credits: The Dance - Garth

This film was one I had really been wanting to see. Ever since Johnny Depp catapulted back into Hollywood with Pirates of the Caribbean he has gained more and more respect as an actor, and has the choice roles to prove it. His portrayal of playwright JM Barrie in Finding Neverland was moving, from the Scottish-twinged accent, to his mannerisms, to his honest face in which I was completely engrossed. Acting-wise, two of the younger actors made the movie for me. First the youngest of the Davies children provided great comic relief, and then newcomer Freddie Highmore who played Peter Davies was heartbreakingly wonderful. As a member of the audience you felt his resentment for losing a parent, you rejoiced in those moments when he reverted back to acting like the little boy that he was, and you cried with him as big tears welled up into his innocent eyes. I was pleased to find out today that we will be seeing more of little Mr. Highmore as he will be playing alongside Johnny Depp again as Charlie in the upcoming Charlie & the Chocolate Factory.

Without giving away too much of the plot, I want to share a few scenes of the movie that made Finding Neverland so magical to me. Yes, the acting was incredible, but the direction, cinematographer, producers- whoever, that saw certain moments to draw out in the film, made the film come alive to me. The best example is in the scene just after the Davies family has dined with Mr. and Mrs. Barrie. Mrs. Barrie closes the door and says, "well that was dreadful," meanwhile you see around to the other side of the door where Mrs. Davies' mother says the same thing. Then Mrs. Davies disagrees- and around the other side of the door Mr. Barrie objects to Mrs. Barrie and says he had an enjoyable time. Back and forth the shots go, from the family walking down the path away from the Barrie house back to inside the Barrie house with Mr. and Mrs. walking up the grand staircase. The scene culminates with each of their side-by-side bedroom doors opening. Inside Mrs. Barrie's room we see a bed. Inside Mr Barrie's, Neverland.

At one point Peter and "Uncle Jim" Barrie are seated directly across from one another in the room, and their legs are crossed exactly the same way, only opposite from one another. This was a great visual representation of how the two characters, despite their age difference are very much alike.

Even the manner in which JM Barrie meets the Davies family for the first time is cleverly shot. He sits on his park bench and opens up the newspaper only to find a carefully cut hole where the review of his play had been. The character proceeds to hold up the newspaper to examine the hole further, and it is through this hole that we see the Davies family in the distance playing in the park from the viewpoint of Mr. Barrie.

Ever since befriending Thomas, the theater and film aficionado in high school, I have learned to pay closer attention to details such as these, and I'm all the more delighted by movies because of it. The Golden Globe nominations came out this week and our beloved Johnny Depp has been nominated for best actor for Finding Neverland. (Have you ever stopped to think how odd it is to have a 40-some-odd man going by Johnny? Somehow Jonathan or John Depp just doesn't have the same appeal though, so I guess he's bound to be Johnny until he retires from moviemaking.) Joining the nomination for best actor are several others including best picture (drama) and best director. All that to say, Bradley and Borders both gave it 2 thumbs way up.

Finding Neverland

Monday, December 13, 2004

AB FAB WEEKEND!

So can I just say how much I love Mark Wills and Clay Walker? My Launchcast radio has recently brought this to my attention. There's a Jeffrey Steele song called "What Hurts the Most" that I really like and I just found out that Mark Wills cut it on one of his albums. So among all the birthday goings-on on Friday, I failed to check the blog before I skipped out of work at 3:00. Thanks for the BD blog Amanda Jane, and the comments from the blogees. I'm running to the TV every couple minutes trying to catch the live Scott Peterson sentence. Ya think he's a little nervous right now?

This weekend was RhondapaLUza and it was ab fab! The Acorn was SO delicious - big thanks to the roomies for buying my dinner! I heart ya'll! We went to Bar 23 after dinner. We had good conversation ("V!!!") but the place itself wasn't too energetic. I wanted to go to Tin Roof next so we stayed there till the wee hours. Ari and Brett met up with us there. And as we concluded yesterday at lunch, the lead singer is a dirty old man!!! And his guitar has multiple STD's. I was presented with a hot pink "Birthday Girl" button which I wore with pride, announcing to strangers "It's my birthday!" The dirty old man and his band did sing to me and another birthday girl though. Saturday the roomies and I saw Finding Neverland, which was good. I think that AJ and Em liked it a little more than I did though. Does anyone want to go see Ocean's 12 this week?

Saturday night was our BBC Christmas party and it was a lot of fun! I walked away from the gift exchange with a TERRIFIC horse on a carousel that plays music, which I definitely intend to regift at my white elephant party on Friday :) The food was fabulous; thanks to everyone who contributed! The Drennans' home was huge and gorgeous. Mr. Drennan took several of us on a field trip through their back yard to peek into the house of their neighbors, Tim McGraw and Faith Hill. Unfortunately Tim walks around with clothes on. Just kidding just kidding! We didn't see them. (Wow....death penalty for Scott Peterson.)

Sunday afternoon was the Penthouse Holiday Extravaganza . (Why can't I ever come up with the fun names for stuff we do??) Alas, more good food, fun, and fellowship! But, I don't think we had enough sweets there. Will ya'll PLEASE bring more desserts next time? Same goes for the BBC Christmas Party....there just wasn't enough. Oh there's more I could elaborate on but my hands hurt and I have GOT to get some work done around here!! Peace out.

so much to do, so little time

Believe it or not, I am actually busy at work today (don't pass out or anything- I'm alright, really).

The weekend flew by, as they usually do, and I'll leave the big stuff for the Other Authors to blog about or comment on.

Yesterday Mike said something in his sermon that I thought I'd pass along for those non BBC members. Christmas without Christ is just 'mas, and 'mas just isn't a very good reason to buy things for people. I know we hear things like that over and over during Christmastime, but it's true. We need to be reminded because we are forgetful people. The Israelites had to be reminded over and over that God was in control and that was even with Moses seeing the burning bush, parting the red sea, and God showering them with manna to eat! How much more forgetful are we who are bombarded with electronic distractions, and not-so-tangible signs from God?

A funny thing happened (on the way to the forum) last night at our Christmas concert. About 10 minutes before we went on, our music minister Dennis looked at me and said, "Amanda, did Vikki talk to you about doing the first verse on I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day?" And I laughed and said no, learned the words on the spot and sang it in the concert last night. It was good that I didn't know ahead of time because I would have worked myself up over 4 lines of a Christmas carol. But the reason Vikki hadn't told me about the solo was probably because I missed dress rehearsal on Friday night. And why did I miss dress rehearsal? One, because it was Rhonda's birthday, and two, because I was aggravated that I hadn't been asked to sing anything for the concert, honestly. Feeling under-appreciated, I felt no remorse in skipping the final run-through of our concert. What a terrible attitude to have, I am ashamed to say, but then what a humbling experience came out of it. At the last minute last night I said to God, ok, I can't change my attitude from what it was, but I can change how I present myself to the congregation. No matter what the circumstances, my job is to sing in worship to God. I don't know how well that was communicated, but as I was falling asleep trying to finish my chapter of the Purpose Driven Life last night, I read a verse included in the text that said, if you are using your God-given talents then you are doing God's will. So often I feel trapped in my 20-something life and wonder, what am I doing with my life, what am I supposed to do with my musical abilities?, and then small moments like the Christmas concert solo happen.

I don't really know why I am telling you all this, except to be as real and honest as possible with you all- my friends and family, and perhaps the random onlooker, and say no, I'm not perfect by any means. For all conventional purposes I'm somewhat of a hypocrite even. I do things I know I shouldn't and say things that aren't reflective of what I claim to be- a follower of Christ. But I think that's the point- that none of us are perfect, we will all mess up, and God continues to swoop in and save us from our messes, and wipe the slate clean all over again.

Heavy stuff for a Monday, I know. We are all recovering from our respective weekends, and mine really was a blast. The Penthouse Pets did our Christmas yesterday, and may I just say, I love my pink Pilates mat, brooch, and macintosh-scented goodies (there's that word again!). Too bad I didn't get to use the mat this morning in lieu of coming in to work early to make up for all the hours I will miss this week. If possible, we'll be comin' atcha live from Knoxvegas later on this week as Weezer gets ready to wed Cubby. For A-DOR-able pictures of them, click here.

Friday, December 10, 2004

This day in history

A little history lesson for the day- my AP US History teacher in High School used to begin class every day with a "Today in History" brief- Jenni, if you're out there- "I've got Bacon Hands!!"

So on this day, December 10th

1830: Literary-acclaimed poet Emily Dickinson was born in Amherst, MA

1869: Wyoming becomes the first state to adopt women's suffrage

1898: In France, the Treaty of Paris is signed, ending the Spanish-American War and granting the United States its first overseas empire.

1948: The United Nations adopts the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, marking the birth of the modern human rights movement.

1980: our beloved Penthouse Pet Rhonda Maureen Walsh entered the world

RhondapaLUza has officially begun, complete with the newly-traditional chocolate chip birthday pancakes at 6am (Say NO to Pilates!). The fun will continue well on into the evening with dinner at the trendy
Acorn restaurant and outing to follow. Join me in wishing our Birthday girl a happy day!

Thursday, December 09, 2004

RhondapaLUza

Emily let me thank you again for creating that term. For those of you who DON'T live with me, "RhondapaLUza" is the collective term for my birthday weekend and all the activities that it entails. You can check out the weekend's schedule at www.rhondapaluza.com

Just kidding....that would rock though wouldn't it?? Can I get a tiara to wear out? Or a sash? Or a button that says "Kiss me it's my birthday?"

Christmas Songs!

Christmas music- I just can’t get enough of it! The season only comes once a year, so I guess that’s what makes Christmas songs such a novelty. I decided to give you all a little insight to me, as if you don’t get enough of it on here, and list some of my favorite Christmas songs:

1. O Holy Night- Luciano Pavarotti
2. O Holy Night- Celine Dion
3. 12 Days of Christmas- Mickey Mouse & Co.
4. Blue Christmas- Elvis Presley
5. Magazine Angels- Joe Diffie
6. O Holy Night- Joe Diffie
7. O Holy Night- Josh Groban (Have you figured out what my favorite Christmas song is??)
8. O Holy Night- UK Christmas Collage, 2002, Norman Reinhart soloist (my future husband)
9. Mary Did You Know- Michael English
10. Breath of Heaven- Amy Grant
11. Hallelujah Chorus- any choir that stays in-tune
12. Dominic the Italian Christmas Donkey- Lou Monte
13. Christmas Time is Here- Alvin & the Chipmunks
14. O Holy Night- Cartman from Southpark
15. Carol of the Bells- there's a version Mom has on cd with this really good choir
16. Little Drummer Boy- not sure who sings this fav, but mom has it on cd (same cd as #15?)
17. Christmas song from Love Actually that the washed up pop singer has out
18. Hark the Herald Angels Sing- Mariah Carey ( I know, I’m ashamed)
19. Jesu Bambino- Luciano Pavoratti
20. 12 Redneck Days of Christmas- Jeff Foxworthy
(I haven’t heard this one on the radio yet
this year- what gives?)

And finally, My Least Favorite Christmas Songs:
1. Simply Having a Wonderful Christmastime- Paul McCartney (one of his few musical flops)
2. Hey Santa- Wilson Phillips (I guarentee that if you shop in the mall this Christmas season
you will hear this song! It’s so terrible it’s funny.

Now enlighten the rest of the group with your favorite or non-favorite Christmas carols.

Wassssssssssssail!

So the highlight of my night was my visit to Starbuck's. I know that there are lots of people who go to Starbuck's every day, but I live in a bubble, so it's a treat for me when I get to to there. I can't justify spending as much for a cup of (insert favorite drink here) as I could spend on a meal. And obviously, winter is the best time to visit Starbuck's. Por que? The caramel apple cider of course! It's the best week ever! It's fantabulous! It's the COOL-est! It rocks my face off! It's A-mazing! Iloveit Iloveit Iloveit!!!!!!!!!

You know how some companies are carbon copies of each other? Like DSW Shoes and Off Broadway, or Coke and Pepsi, or Pizza Hut and Pizza Inn? Well, my company (Logan's Roadhouse) has a copycat too, called Texas Roadhouse. Although they have a few more restaurants nationwide than Logan's does, WE were around first. Logan's has been a top competitor in the steakhouse market in the Nashville area for years. But on Monday.....Texas Roadhouse opened up in Hendersonville. We don't have a Hendersonville location, but we are very close in both Madison and Gallatin. It wasn't a surprise - we knew they were opening there. They are our competition, of course we follow their development schedule. But it's like they've moved onto our home turf! But hey, we ain't sweatin' it. Another very interesting point is that just about their entire management team at that location used to work for us. But alas, such is business. There's always competition and it drives you to be more proactive and secure your customers while attracting new ones. That's the challenge of my department, and that's fun to me. We get to be creative to find ways to stay fresh in the minds of our guests. Keep it KICKIN'!!!

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Do you know...

Ok, I’m starting to hear grumblings from the loyal readers… time for some new random commentary on life.

Last night was Kairos. We had communion and Mike talked about the Resurrection of Christ- very interesting in this time of year when most people are only concerned with proclaiming Christ’s birth. It definitely refocuses your attention on what the birth was really all about, and why Jesus was ever born. Yes, we celebrate Christmas to celebrate the birth of our Savior, but also to remember the point is that He came to save us, and that’s what the crucifixion was all about. I will never be able to explain things the way "Uncle Mike" can, but in short, to use a cliché term, Jesus is the reason for the season.

Kairos was also especially fun last night because I ran into this kid named Brett Mayo whom I went to middle school with! We’re talking ghetto, first-avenue south, drug-needles on the track, Cameron Middle School where I suffered through 5th and 6th grade before making the transition to MLK. Brett and I played in the orchestra together (yeah- we were really cool kids back then), and as it turns out, he was also a voice major in school. Coincidentally, he’s also not using his music degree in the slightest. (Will somebody tell me why no one ever talked me out of this major in the first place?) (sigh. I know. Everything happens for a reason and God is going to draw on my music background for something at some point, and I’ll need to be thankful for that useless major then. Until then God, I’m waiting patiently… yep… right here…) As it turns out though, Brett’s roommate was also there, a kid named Justin Schott who also went to Cameron who I don’t remember much about except that he had a horrible yearbook picture. He’s turned out quite attractive actually. Brett also mentioned the name Brian Humphries in passing. I said, "Brian Humphries, as in the Brian Humphries I know that went to Cameron?" And before I thought twice I exclaimed, "I had the biggest crush on him in 5th grade! He was my square dancing partner in PE and I was so excited!" Ok, TMI, I know, but it was 5th grade, come on. Brett got a huge kick out of it at any rate.

What followed next was a fabulous game of "Do you Know" where two people make a people-connection- say, from middle school, or you know someone with their same major who went to their college, so you say, "do you so-and-so," and they exclaim, "Yes, I love her! She dated my roommate," or "we had such-and-such class together." This game is fun for me, because I get to remember old friends that I’ve lost touch with, find out what they’re up to, or in some cases, get re-introduced to people I never would have thought about ever again (I mean, Justin Schott, what the heck??) Maryah walked over at one point, and she also went to UT (where Brett had gone to school) and so the game got even more fun. I found out through the course of this that Maryah is living with a girl I graduated from Brentwood with, and she and Brett knew some of the same people too. It just goes to show what a small, small world we live in. (Isn’t that Soooo Cracy??)

Upon arriving back to the Penthouse, I was enticed by the yummy smelling Wassail Rhonda Lu made (Wasssssssssaaaaaail), and the three of us stayed up way too late having our nightly "hall meeting" and trying to decide what to do this weekend for Rhondapalooza. Get excited. It’s going to be fun. And the Brooch just might have to make an appearance. ;o)

Monday, December 06, 2004

Weekend Update

OK I have a new favorite, and I'm not even Alison Krauss. It's my LAUNCHcast radio from Yahoo! If you guys have not discovered this, you are missing out. (I have to give Miss A credit for being the first to tell me about this though.) You begin by choosing your favorite artists or genres for your personalized radio station to begin playing. Then as the songs play, their title/artist/album is displayed. You can rate the 3 of these, and the higher you rate the artist, the more your station plays him/her, and the higher you rate the album, the more tracks from it that are played, etc. You can also tell it what to play in other ways. There are 30-second commercials every few songs but I barely notice them anymore. You can also listen to the John Mayer Fan Station, or the Jazz Holiday station, or the Big Hits of the 80’s station. Anyway, it’s great and I look forward to sitting at my desk more now! Go to www.launch.yahoo.com to get started! Geez, you’d think they were paying me huh?

For the first time since I’ve moved to my new desk, the temperature in my room is above 60. Ha, you think I’m kidding. I wore 2 pair of socks last week and used my space heater. Today I wore a cardigan AND a pea coat, and it’s finally comfortable in here so I’ve taken the extra layers off. It’s a rainy day today. Blah. And it’s supposed to last through tomorrow.

Wow...what an exciting weekend I had! About 3 hours beforehand, I got tickets to go see Martina McBride’s Christmas Show on Friday night. It was really really good. Then I went home and crashed while watching Friends with Amanda. Emily was out of town all weekend (tear.) Saturday Amanda’s parents came over to watch the UK b-ball game (which we won’t mention) while I cleaned a little, washed clothes, and wrote Christmas cards. My crazy friend Ashley was coming into town from Memphis for a holiday party, so I went to eat with her at Las Palmas. I don’t know why people say their margaritas are so good because I wasn’t that impressed. Then we went back to her hotel and watched the first half of the Tennessee-Auburn SEC championship game. I can’t believe that the college football season is over. Very sad. Next year...gonna be FSU’s year. I told Amanda that she’s gotta get me into basketball, and yeah I’ll be a UK fan by default.

Saturday night was one for the record books. Rhonda, 18. Amanda, 69. No people, not that, but you’re getting warmer. (Hotttttter?) PS - Once you go tall, you never go back. So Miss A and I went to Tin Roof and had an uber-fun night! I will allow Amanda to expand on that if she chooses. One person we saw there was Adam, the cutie patootie that Emily knows, who was SO just that into her, but she never heard from again. So I walked past him, made eye contact, glared, and kept on walkin’! He gave me that I-know-you-from-somewhere look, and I just pray he figures out where he knows me from. Jerk. Grrrr. Guys, don’t mess with our heads. If you like us, be nice to us, get our number, and be a man and call us! If you don’t like us, just don’t be nice to us in the first place. The worst thing is the “nice” guys who actually aren’t interested in you back, they are just NICE. Maybe you should try the #1 pick-up line of 2004: “Hey, nice broach.” Way to seal the deal Benji :)

Happy St. Nick's Day

"The Stockings were hung by the chimney with care, in hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there..."

Has anyone else heard of this holiday before? I have never met anyone outside my family that celebrates it with the exception of some family friends. Here in the U.S. I think celebrating St. Nicholas Day is limited to Catholics in the Ohio Valley region. Mom grew up catholic, and so we've recognized St. Nick's Day all of my life. In true Catholic fashion, I had no idea why we celebrated this day until I hopped onto
google this morning and did a search. I mean, I knew the basics, that St. Nicholas was a catholic saint, a derivative of our modern day Santa Claus, and that if you left out your stocking (or shoes if you're in Holland) you would receive treats in it, but other than that I was ignorant of why St. Nicholas is celebrated. So if you care to be educated, click here or here .

So what did we learn?
-Well for one, today is a Feast Day, meaning it's ok to have eaten the Panera Cinnamon crunch bagel for breakfast, snack on the mini M&Ms that were in my stocking this morning, have the chocolate brownie from Ann Wade's mom for desert after lunch, and generally eat bad stuff today, because I'm eating it all in honor of a saint!
-Two, St. Nicholas is the patron saint of un-married girls! Hel-LO, I could have used this information years ago! Now I know why I'm still single- I haven't been pleading my case to St. Nick. Well that is all about to change!
-Three, I always have found it interesting that the feast days for a saint are on their death day and not their birthday. In Nick's case he wasn't martyerd the way many saints were, but that's not the case for many saints.
-Four, St. Nicholas gave his gifts at night because he didn't want to take credit for the giving. Instead he wanted God to get the glory for blessing those in need by giving anonymously. What a display of the adage, it is better to give than to receive. This story served as a gentle reminder to me, that when I give gifts this Christmas season is it to glorify myself- wow, what a creative shopper am I, and what a thoughtful gift I bought for that person, or am I giving because I truly want to bless others?

For years now I have enlightened friends on my family's St. Nick's Day stockings tradition. The Penthouse Pets diligently set our alarms to 5:45 this a.m. so we'd have to time to do stockings and still have time for pilates. (I feel so Gweneth Paltrow saying I do pilates now! Although "do" is maybe not the right word choice. "Attempt" is more like it! My body is not so flexible after just waking up at 6 a.m. every morning!) So thank you St. Nick for the pink ornaments, candy, and other goodies! (My goodies. My goodies. my goodies not my goodies.) That was a little shout-out to Em and Rhonda. Speaking of goodies though- have you ever payed attention to Christmas song lyrics? The word Goodies is all over the place! It's kind of annoying once you start to notice it. Kind of like Laura noticing car attennas when she is driving and then it's like they're everywhere! All you see when driving down the street are antennas. I dare you not to look at the attennas today. In the meantime, eat all you want in the name of St. Nicholas today, and join in our Christmas countdown: Only 18 days to go!

Friday, December 03, 2004

cringe-worthy phrases

Ok, I have given my roommates plenty of chances to blog both yesterday and today. Rhonda’s all whiney because she supposedly wrote a really long one but in the process of publishing it, it got "lost." Uh-huh. Sure. And Em is apparently too busy doing her Job to write anything. You know what I have to say to that? Some of us just have our priorities in order! Blog first. Work second. I really am looking for a new job- this one bores me to tears so I have to entertain myself by entertaining you, the loyal or happenstance reader. But I enjoy it, so no complaining. (or not much anyways.)

Today is a beautiful sunny Friday here in Franklin, TN. I just got back from getting my Baja Burrito fix with fellow SOGWEAW members Ari, Rhonda Lu, Angela, Emmy Sue, and Jennifer (Ali Joy, we miss you! Come back to us!). Mmmmm was it good. We took pleasure in making Emily blush by repeatedly using her least favorite phrase in the world:

"Man, that just hit the spot!"

I’ll bet she’s cringing just reading those words! Apparently there is some off-color implication there that I’ve never read into, so surprisingly, that’s one phrase that doesn’t bother yours truly. Now if we’re talking about penetration, cutlets, or slicing then that’s a different story. Are Emily and I alone here in having those phrases that make us cringe? For example, the phrase "loosey goosey" flew out of my mouth a few weeks ago with Laura, George, and Ari in the car. I don’t know if I’ve ever said that in my life, but for whatever reason it just popped out and I immediately regretted it while the words were still on my lips.
"What did I just say?" I thought to myself.
"What did you just say?" The others said aloud.
"Did you just use the phrase loosey goosey in a sentence?" Yes. Yes I did. But what an odd saying, don’t you think? Holt one time in college said she "had too many irons in the fire" and I just laughed at her. Who says that? And another favorite non-favorite phrase of mine is "For Pete’s sake."

Come on, I know I’m not the only one here. Enlighten the rest of the reading population so we can decide for ourselves on these anomalies of the English language, and then proceed to make fun of you for thinking these are weird sayings. Oh yes: and then we’ll make sure to say them every time we’re around you. Now doesn’t that just hit the spot?

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

World AIDS Day

Support World AIDS Day

I have to admit that AIDS was not something I ever thought much about before I went to South Africa. Here in the states it's far-removed from most of us. We see it as a preventable disease, are well-educated about how the virus is contracted, and are fortunate enough to live in a wealthy country where drugs and treatments are available. Not so in Sub-Saharan Africa. There, AIDS is not a social problem. It's not attacking just the homosexuals, and drug users; it's affecting entire families, towns, and countries. In the small community of Masiphumelele, where we vistited in Cape Town, the total number of people infected is close to 1 in 4 or 5 people. And that's just the people they know about. Once infected, the HIV virus can lie dormant for years, so there are likely many more sick than we currently know about.

The world is trying to respond to the AIDS pandemic, but it's just not happening fast enough. The most important stage in stopping the spread of the HIV virus is educating people how it is contracted, and teaching abstinence and safe sex. People in South Africa are terrified of people finding out that they have AIDS. They either will not get tested for the virus because they themselves do not want to know, or else they are tested, but keep it a secret when they are found to have HIV. Families and communities will cast out the infected from their homes and society, much like the leppers were social outcasts in Biblical times. Rather than risk the shame that comes from admitting one has the dreaded HIV virus, they keep it a secret and meanwhile AIDS continues to spread. This is not just the case in South Africa, but in many parts of the world. We can help by either providing funds for education, or going ourselves to teach those who will listen. Wake up America and get involved. If you have an opportunity to give to an AIDS fund please do so. It's not just an African problem. It's a world problem.